In the past few years, there’s been a surge in vaginal-health related companies and products, offering everything from pH balancing probiotics that aim to prevent bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, and UTIs, to products that aid sexual pleasure. Alongside all these ways to improve our physical health, there’s a growing complementary community focused on the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our sexual lives. According to Latinx brujas and healers Yvette Montoya, Briana Amos, Zayda Rivera, Emilia Ortiz, and Esoteric Esa, this side of sexual wellness is also important to consider given that sex, just like any other type of exchange, certainly impacts our well-being. Specifically, our energy.
“There is an energy exchange that is happening when you have sex with someone,” says intuitive medium and palera Yvette Montoya, who defines energy as a non-physical force or essence present in all living things. The self-proclaimed green bruja offers everything from readings to limpiezas for her clients. “The first step in taking care of ourselves is really understanding what is happening energetically with these people we’re choosing to get intimate with.”
Montoya, who is currently launching an online workshop on spiritual hygiene that touches on sexual energy, believes that while the wellness industry often touches on the interconnection between mind, body, and spirit, there’s not a lot that’s being said about spiritual hygiene, which she defines as the act of removing absorbed energies using ancestral methods and techniques.
Puerto Rican bruja and healer, Emilia Ortiz believes sex carries just as much energetic weight as it does emotional. Sex with a toxic partner can impact how we live our lives even outside of sex. “Sex can be something that can boost or even heal us spiritually. It can also be damaging. The same way we can feel emotionally drained after a negative exchange with someone, we can feel the same after sex,” Ortiz says.
With Valentine’s Day nearly approaching, these five Latinx brujas share the many ways people can cleanse themselves of the energetic residue from romantic relationships and sexual encounters they’d prefer to leave behind. Check out their tips for those seeking spiritual insight, ahead.
Montoya says that if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, confused, depressed, have self-doubt, or insecure following a sexual encounter, those are signs that the sexual encounter might not be working in your best interest — even if they did get you to orgasm a couple of times. She recommends checking in with yourself and asking yourself honest questions afterwards like: Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel a little discombobulated for days or weeks? "≈What people need to understand is that our body is a measurement tool,” she says.
Healer and tarot reader Briana Amos agrees that recognizing shifts in your body as reflective of shifts in your spirit is significant: “If you start feeling stressed or anxious out of nowhere, or if you’re very easily triggered and you don’t necessarily know where it came from,” those are signs your spirit is also ill.
Usui reiki practitioner and spiritual healer Zayda Rivera says that harboring negative energy from sexual encounters can impact us in so many ways. It can show up in your new relationships and impact your physical health. “You can carry a toxic lover’s energy for 7 to 30 years,” Zayda says.
Limpiezas are ancestral spiritual cleansing rituals that are particularly popular in Latinx and Caribbean communities. Practiced to cleanse the body, mind, and soul from negative energies and thoughts, it’s both a physical and spiritual energy purification system. When it comes to sexual energetic cleansing, Amos is a fan of baths.
She recommends starting off by taking a bath with sea salt, basil, and rosemary; the basil helps with emotional balance, rosemary is for exercising dark energy, and the sea salt is for general cleansing. Astrologist Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad, who goes by Esoteric Esa, recommends a black walnut limpieza to assist with releasing any toxic partners, sexual trauma, or just to remove energy of past lovers from your womb. You’ll want to take a regular shower before the bath as you don’t want to take spiritual baths [while] dirty, stresses Esa. “It’s powerful and comforting,” she says. “Write out an intention for what/who you wish to release from your womb. This can help cut cords with lovers.”
DIY black walnut bath (courtesy of Esoteric Esa):
1. Boil 10 whole black walnuts in a pot of purified water for two to three hours or until the water becomes opaque and black.
2. Allow the liquid to cool.
3. Recite your intention over the black walnut water and ask that bonds be released from these people or person.
4. Add the black walnut water to your warm bath. Soak in it and stay as long as you like reciting affirmations to set the intention.
5. Close the ritual by giving yourself a hug and reminding yourself you are powerful and that you are loved.
For those looking for a less physical option, there is the emotional and energetic ritual of cord cutting, an ancestral practice common in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“I find that cord cutting is like clearing a path so you can walk the path towards your healing,” says Ortiz, who recommends working with a guide or facilitator to help you through regressing to the experience and addressing what happened on both a mental and energetic level. “It gives you an opportunity to reclaim your power.” Because the experience can be very intense, a facilitator or guide like Vanessa C. Codorniu can provide support.
It works like this: You first visualize a separation of some sort. You can also light candles and burn sage, palo santo, rosemary, or lavender to spiritually cleanse the space, and then use scissors to actually physically cut something like yarn or thread to symbolize the cord you want to cut in your life. But those that are cutting cords after a bad sexual experience, Amos says to be wary of the emotional toll that often comes with cord cutting.
“A lot of people start cord cutting, and then end up back with the person they wanted to separate themselves from, because they fell into the trap of going through emotions again, not understanding that this is a purging of emotions,” she says.
Ultimately, brujas urge that it’s time we start talking about the impact our sexual relationships can have on our overall health. “The importance of spiritual hygiene really comes down to how it allows us to understand our needs in and out of romantic relationships,” Montoya says. “When we limit the weight of other people’s thoughts and expectations, it gives us room to define ourselves and our boundaries.”